Friday, November 12, 2021

Rockets' season ends 24-7 at Russellville

Russellville defensive back Anthony Woodward
knocks down a pass aimed at Rocket's
receiver Brysen Baker.
MARION, Ky. – Echoes of the past haunted the Rockets in their last stand of the year at Russellville Friday night. As with the regular-season meeting between the two teams, Crittenden County’s offense couldn’t finds its legs while the defense bent yet seldom broke.

The result was a season-ending 24-7 loss in the second round of the Class A playoffs as the Panthers won the district title outright, a trophy the Rockets had hoisted the four previous seasons. They will not play in the Final 8 Round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Prior to its recent playoff success, CCHS had not gone to the Final 8 since 2009. In 2008, the Rockets played in the Final 4 and won a state championship in 1985.

The scenario at Russellville was a near mirror image of the first encounter at Marion just three weeks ago. This time, however, CCHS did manage more than three times as many yards and a few more first downs, but the result was the same. 

The Panthers won the first match 27-0. Crittenden scored for the first time against Russellville in the last playoff period on a touchdown pass from Luke Crider to Kaleb Nesbitt. Otherwise, the offense was marred by turnovers. The Rockets fumbled twice and Crider was intercepted three times. The Panthers intercepted four passes in their first meeting. Crittenden did not prove it could move the ball effectively by land or air in either matchup.

"We just couldn't get anything going early," said Rocket senior Trace Derrington, who plays cornerback and receiver. He caught a couple of passes late as Crittenden mustered a bit of offense in the closing minutes of the game.

Preston Morgeson and Kaleb Nesbitt (2)
close in on a RHS ball carrier.
The defense stopped Russellville twice in the red zone in the first half before senior running back Javari Gamble scored the game’s first touchdown on a four-yard run – a drive set up by good field position thanks to an interception. Gamble was the workhorse behind the Panthers’ bullish running attack. Flashy, the Russellville game plan was not. It stayed on the ground for 77 tries. Gamble carried for 28. He gained 103, and Panther senior QB Lennon Ries had 107 on 19 attempts.

“They continued to fight and continued to fight. This hurts bad,” said Gaige Courtney, whose inaugural season as the Rocket head coach comes to a close. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Crittenden 0 0 0 7
Russellville 2 8 7 7

R-Safety 7:30, 1st
R-Javari Gamble 4 run (Jackson Hampton pass from Lennon Ries) :44, 2nd
R-Ries 36 run (Dustin Brown kick) 6:16, 3rd
C-Kaleb Nesbitt 9 pass from Luke Crider (Brysen Baker kick) 5:17, 4th
R-Gamble 2 run (Brown kick) :30, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 12, RHS 16
Penalties: CCHS 2-15, RHS 8-75
Rushing: CCHS 22-69, RHS 77-295
Passing: CCHS 13-32-3, 128; RHS 6-10-0, 46
Total Yards: CCHS 197, RHS 341
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 2-2, RHS 3-1


CCHS: Gattin Travis 10-40, Crider 12-29. RHS: Gamble 28-103, Chevis Elliot 7-37, Jaquis Todd 4-48, Ries 19-107.
CCHS: Crider 13-32-3, 128. RHS: Ries 6-10-0, 46.
CCHS: Travis 3-10, Trace Derrington 2-28, Preston Morgeson 2-28, Nesbitt 5-51, Baker 1-11. RHS: Anthony Woodward 3-30, Elliot 1-3, Todd 1-4, Gamble 1-9.
Coleman Stone 7 solos, 4 assists, 2 TFLs; Tucker Sharp 2 solos, TFL; Luke Mundy 6 solos, fumble recovery; Luke Crider solo; Ben Evans assist; Trace Derrington 4 solos, assist; Dylan Yates 6 solos, assist, TFL; Logan Bailey 7 solos, 3 assists; Tanner Beverly assist; Zech McGahan 11 solos; Sam Impastato 2 solos, 8 assists 2 TFLs; Deacon Holliman solos; Case Gobin 7 solos, 3 assists, 2 sacks; Kaleb Nesbitt solo, 3 assists; Briley Berry 4 solos, 4 assists; Preston Morgeson 3 solos.
Players of the Game: Defense Case Gobin and Coleman Stone, Lineman Dylan Yates, Offense Kaleb Nesbitt.
Records: Crittenden 5-7, Russellville 10-1